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Organic Agronomy Training Set

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A roller-crimper rolls down a hairy vetch-triticale cover crop. (NDSU photo) A roller-crimper rolls down a hairy vetch-triticale cover crop. (NDSU photo)
The agenda includes introductions to key principles of organic transition, certification, marketing and agronomy.

Crop advisers and other agricultural professionals who work with producers will have an opportunity to learn more about organic certification and production, as well as the basics of transitioning to organic farming, during North Dakota State University Extension’s OATS (Organic Agronomy Training Series) program.

The program is set for March 26-27 at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Bismarck, N.D.

Farmers thinking about transitioning to organic farming or already farming organically are welcome to attend.

“The organic industry is rapidly growing in North America and around the world,” says Clair Keene, NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist at the Williston Research Extension Center. “If you are not already working with organic producers or conventional producers with organic neighbors, you probably will be soon.

“Understanding the basics of organic certification and organic agronomy will help you make choices and recommendations that are in the best interests of both your organic and conventional clients,” she adds. “Although the OATS agenda is aimed at professional consultants and Extension educators, it will be a great opportunity for producers who are interested in organic production, too.”

The program begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 26. Experienced producers and crop advisers will discuss:

  • Key concepts of organic certification
  • The inspection process
  • Buffers
  • Prohibited substances
  • Crop management
  • Product integrity

The day’s events also include a panel of organic agronomists and producers from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota and small-group break-out sessions on developing transition plans, organic crop consulting and record keeping, and the certification and inspection process.

“The agenda includes introductions to key principles of organic transition, certification, marketing and agronomy,” Keene says. “The program will emphasize crop rotation planning as key to successful soil fertility and pest management in organic systems in the northern Great Plains. Experienced organic farmers and ranchers representing a diversity of cropping systems will share their perspectives.”

Speakers will include:

  • Chris Wiegert, chief supply chain officer for Healthy Food Ingredients, a Fargo, N.D.,-based company whose brands include SK Food International, Hesco Dakota Organic Products, Suntava and Heartland Flax
  • Brad Brummond, an NDSU Extension agent in Walsh County who has been working with organic producers in North Dakota for more than 30 years
  • Tim Boortz, an organic grain marketing specialist with NFOrganics who operated and managed a large organic crop and beef farm in Wisconsin before joining NFOrganics
  • Katherine Stanley, organic Extension specialist with the University of Manitoba
  • Kendra Rhodes and Steve Rosenzweig of General Mills

“The foundation of organic farming is relationships between farmers and consumers, between farmer and certifier, and among farmers,” says Dan Folske, NDSU Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent in Burke County. “OATS will introduce you to these relationships and give you the opportunity to network with organic farmers and agronomists who are willing to share their experiences with you.”

The cost of attending OATS is $95. Attendance is limited to 100 participants. Certified crop adviser credits will be available.

Register online at https://tinyurl.com/oatswest.

A block of rooms is available at the conference hotel. Call the hotel at 701-258-7000 to reserve a room; ask for the OATS conference block.

For information about the training, contact Keene at 701-774-4315 or clair.keene@ndsu.edu


NDSU Agriculture Communication - Feb. 27, 2019

Source:Clair Keene, 701-774-4315, clair.keene@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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